A Pulaski County jury Wednesday rejected a 45-year-old Little Rock woman's accusations that a homeless man subjected her to an overnight ordeal of rape, robbery, abduction and forced drug use.
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Korey Brown told jurors his accuser told him she was a "wild girl" and went with him willingly. He said they spent the night driving around in her car, smoking crack cocaine, talking about their lives and having sex.
He testified that when their night together was over, she gave him her business card, which he took to mean that she wanted to see him again.
The six men and six women of the jury deliberated about 90 minutes to clear Brown of all charges, except for theft -- the only criminal count he admitted to on the witness stand.
Jurors reduced that charge, for taking the woman's credit card, from a felony to a misdemeanor, and Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson sentenced Brown to the time he's already served since being jailed in March 2014.
Wednesday's acquittal did not mean an immediate release from custody for the 38-year-old Brown because he also faces charges that he raped and kidnapped a second woman in the downtown area in January 2014.
The accusations by that woman, 23, are so similar to the 45-year-old accuser's account in this week's trial that both of them were allowed to testify against Brown, over objections from the defense.
The judge said he'll consider setting bail for Brown at an Oct. 12 hearing.
Defense attorney Leslie Borgognoni told jurors that prosecutors were trying to smear Brown through the testimony of the younger accuser.
The claims by the older woman, that she couldn't get away from Brown, didn't sound honest, Borgognoni said.
To believe her, jurors also would have to believe that drugs can be bought in downtown Little Rock like the drive-thru at Wendy's, the attorney told jurors.
"The two of them were together voluntarily," she said. "It's reasonable that if she truly believed she was kidnapped, she would have called out to the drug dealer for help ... or she would have gotten out of the car and run."
Brown told jurors that he came across the 45-year-old bookkeeper sitting in her car in the downtown parking garage in February 2014, moments after he had urinated behind a blue dumpster in the alley behind the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Even though she was a stranger at night, they exchanged greetings, he said, and he asked her if she wanted to use drugs with him.
"I asked her if she gets high off crack cocaine. She said, 'No, I haven't done that in a long time.' I asked her, 'Do you want to get high off crack cocaine?'" Brown told jurors. "She said: 'Sure, get in'" my car.
"She looked at me and smiled and said, 'I gotta warn you. I'm a wild girl,'" Brown said.
Questioned by defense attorney Lou Marczuk, Brown described for jurors how the woman drove him to several downtown locations in an unsuccessful effort to buy crack cocaine. Eventually, he said, he had her drive them down Ninth Street to an isolated location where they talked and smoked what little crack he had.
The woman was "real comfortable" and it was a "nice conversation," Brown told jurors, saying she willingly undressed for him when he asked.
"She hits [smokes] the rock," he said. "I asked her, 'Can I see your panties while I take the hit?' She stood up in front of the steering wheel and pulled them down."
If the woman was being held against her will, she had at least seven opportunities to run away, call for help or take the car, Brown said.
He told jurors that they made three trips to the Shell convenience store at East Ninth Street and Interstate 30, two visits to the Albert Pike Hotel at East Seventh and Scott streets, and one trip to the Buffington Towers apartments on East Seventh Street.
"She's doing this consensually and willingly. She wasn't afraid," he told jurors, contradicting accusations that he forced her to withdraw money from an ATM. "Never did I ask her for anything."
She even backed the car up to get him after he got into a fight in the street with a drug addict named "Skinny Wayne" over a 78-cent debt, Brown told jurors.
Brown said he did slap the woman because he thought she'd stolen his new crack pipe, even after she took off her boots and pants to show she wasn't hiding it.
"I did wrong. I did strike her. It was a light slap," he said.
But he hit her again, using the butt of his palm, when she kept flailing and kicking him. He mimicked the blow for jurors and said the impact ended their fight.
"We both calmed down. That [blow] was the end of it," he said. "I apologized to her."
Going to the ATM was her idea even though she was mostly undressed, Brown said.
He bought crack, then they had sex and smoked more, he said.
"While she was giving me oral sex, I'm hitting it [the pipe]," Brown told jurors. "I didn't force her. She was wearing me out."
He told jurors he did keep the woman's credit card after she gave it to him to buy beer. He said he bought two cans of Budweiser, oatmeal cream pies and four packs of Newport cigarettes, which he planned to trade for more crack after the woman left him.
On cross-examination by prosecutors, Brown admitted that he initially lied to police about being with the woman, but said he was still drug-addled when detectives spoke to him.
"When he questioned me, I was fresh off the streets ... burnt out on crack," he said. "Everything I told the jury today, I didn't tell Detective [Jarred] McCauley."
He also acknowledged that his version of events had changed since he first talked to police, but he denied the prosecutor's accusations that he had changed his account only after hearing both accusers testify at a hearing in February.
In closing arguments, deputy prosecutor Robbie Jones told jurors that the case came down to whether they believed the woman.
"If you believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, the state has met its burden of proof," he said.
Deputy prosecutor Jayme Butts-Hall showed jurors the photograph that police took of the woman's battered, bruised and swollen face when she reported that she had been abducted.
"This is not the face of consensual sex," the prosecutor said, saying the woman had been beaten into submission that night and endured a terrifying ordeal.
"She was raped. She was beaten. She had money stolen from her. She wasn't allowed to leave."
Metro on 10/01/2015
Print Headline: Night of drug use, sex consensual, jury says